Created By: 313Bluestreak on February 18, 2013 Last Edited By: 313Bluestreak on March 14, 2013
Troped

Reformed But Not Tamed

A character who undergoes a Heel Face Turn retains his villainous traits.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
In fiction, you will see the most nastiest villain of the series who is outright evil and unbelievably mean often to the point of coming across as Complete Monster. Then, he gets defeated by the protagonist and the rest of his crew members. What happens next? He had a change of heart. He became repentant of all the crimes he has committed. And is now is a newest member of the heroes. This is a simple story of a baddie gone good.

Often at times, this doesn't usually has to be the case. When it comes to this trope, a character can go from evil to good and still retain their unpleasant characteristics they had as a villain. There are plenty of reasons for why his behavior is still the same despite changing the alignment. One, the reformed character may still have issues with one or more of the members of the group (particularly The Hero). Two, he is still hung on the ways of a villain and he was sour grapes on how he has changed his ways. Three, he may be just naturally mean due to the abuse of his parents or being picked on by children when he was younger. When it comes to this trope, turning over a new leaf is more complex than people wouldn't want it to be.

Here are the tropes which involve a character changing his alignment, but not his personality:

Very common in a setting of Black and Grey Morality. This is how an Anti-Hero undergoes this development. For that, see Analysis.Anti Hero. This type of character is more likely to become The Hero's lancer. This can often invoke the thought that Humans Are Flawed. Not to be confused with Reformed, but Rejected where a character turns for the better, but others don't acknowledge it.

Regarding to the whole morality thing, No Real Life Examples, Please!.

Examples:

Anime & Manga

Comic Books
  • Exeter from Scion was as a menacing minor villain, but becomes the Big Guy of the main group who is less merciful than Ethan might like.
  • Thugboy and Ninjette from Empowered started as Punch Clock Villains, but also thanks to the influence of the protagonist, they developed into Anti Heroes.
  • Venom, who was a Spider-Man villain, became Anti-Venom, who tries to become The Atoner as well as graduating into a full-fledged Anti-Hero.
  • Batman villainess Catwoman develops into an anti-heroine who often at times teams up with Batman in his missions. Let's not forget about their relationship status.
  • Emma Frost from X-Men started as a villainess who is cold, aloof, arrogant, sociopathic, and likes to underdress. Even if she joins the team, nothing has changed about her attitude and behavior, although she seems to let her coldness melt a little.
  • Deadpool debuted as a mercenary villain in New Mutants and in X-Force. After the events, he still a mercenary, but evolves into a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who only does good deeds not because it was the right thing to do, but because either he felt like it or for selfish motives.

Film

Light Novels
  • Accelerator in A Certain Magical Index killed ten-thousand teenaged girls, but transitions into The Atoner. He will do good to others, but he'll still behave like a utter jerk in doing so.

Literature
  • In A Clockwork Orange, two of the Droogs become policemen after Alex is released from prison and proceed to abuse him when he encounters them.
  • In C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Edmund Pevensie is actually somewhat of an Anti-Hero, even after his Heel–Face Turn, because of his constant snarkiness, his death glares and his temptation to beat the crap out of his cousin Eustace. And he's almost always frowning or scowling.
  • As described on Nightside, Razor Eddie, "Punk God of the Straight Razor", is a reformed - but not retired - Serial Killer, who now targets those who threaten children and the homeless. He's been known to leave buildings soaked in blood but conspicuously absent of corpses; the narration calls him "an extremely disturbing agent of good. The forces of good didn't get a say in the matter".

Live-Action TV

Professional Wrestling
  • This is quite common in the professional wrestling world. A good number of wrestlers begun their careers as heels, but were so loved by the fans that they just have to turn face despite still behaving the same way they started. A noticeable example is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin during the rise of his popularity.
  • Wrestlers who previously had a Face–Heel Turn, but then turned back into a face also qualify. The Rock started as a face, but wasn't well received. Then along came his heel turn and a lot of fans were behind him. He turned face after being kicked out of The Corporation, but still continues his backstage bullying and remains as one of the biggest trash-talkers in pro wrestling.

Video Games

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 9
  • February 19, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Dunno if this counts, but...

    In A Clockwork Orange, two of the Droogs become policemen after Alex is released from prison and proceed to abuse him when he encounters them.
  • February 19, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    The character in question will inevitably be a Jerk With A Heart Of Gold.
  • February 21, 2013
    Kinswaous
    My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Discord shows signs of this at the end of the episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On"
  • February 21, 2013
    StarSword
    TV:
  • February 21, 2013
    HawkofBattle
    Scorpius from Farscape. He spent 2 whole seasons as the Big Bad, before finally changing sides in season 4. YMMV on whether or not he "reformed" by the end.
  • February 21, 2013
    MaxWest
    Another MLP example: Princess Luna in the season 2 episode "Luna Eclipsed". Princess Luna still speaks in her booming voice early on, left over from her time at Nightmare Moon. This, combined with her past reputation as Nightmare Moon, makes every other pony scared of Luna.
  • February 21, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    As described on Something From The Nightside:

    Razor Eddie, "Punk God of the Straight Razor", is a reformed - but not retired - Serial Killer, who now targets those who threaten children and the homeless. He's been known to leave buildings soaked in blood but conspicuously absent of corpses; the narration calls him "an extremely disturbing agent of good. The forces of good didn't get a say in the matter".
  • February 28, 2013
    Guyven
    In my opinion new alliances based on 'the enemy of my enemy' situations don't qualify for being novel when nothing but the alliance changed (no character change at all).

    Scorpius didn't so much Heel Face Turn as have his power-base shift out from under him. The complex motivations of the heroes ended up aligning with his by the end not unlike Magus' alliance with the heroes in Chrono Trigger. He was as valuable an ally as he was a deadly enemy, but he never actually changed. The heroes just came to his side because of the bigger threat he'd been fighting all along.

    Scorpius and Magus are definitely both examples of a Token Evil Teammate. But neither are examples of this, in my opinion. This trope requires the villain (or wild-man) to have undergone an incomplete but mostly diametric change. In absolute terms Scorpius' motivation, personality, and basic evilness never changed a bit. Every apparent change he exhibited was pretty clearly political posturing to maintain old and develop new allies.

    To expound on this slightly, there was maybe one example of Scorpius exhibiting a newly developed sentiment that might signal a change in character. And it was right at the end of the entire series when he sees what his most desired outcome would actually entail: The universe-destroying final solution John forced him to ask for before demonstrating for everyone to see. But that was long after the example noted above.

    An example of this from Farscape that actually fits, I think, would be Crais. He reformed and backslid several times but never seemed to lose his nasty streak.
  • March 1, 2013
    Lorialet
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=z787cno0k1avet6etj9by9qt